Category: Sports News

Rays Drop 5 Straight Games

Well this may not have been the start to the season that Tampa Bay Rays fans wanted to see, but with a depleted roster and a series of trades designed to flip veterans for prospects it is hard to say that Rays fans should not have seen this coming.

Things started well enough for the Rays, winning on Opening Day against the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-4. Starting pitcher Chris Archer, despite a shaky second inning, pitched admirably in the opener and Denard Span began his regular season with a triple that drove home three runs in what ended up being the deciding play of the game. Span, who had quite an impressive slashline during Spring Training, has been a potential bright spot on the otherwise mundane Rays roster.

However, since that Opening Day victory the Rays bats have seemed to fall asleep — failing to score more than four runs in their last five outings. David Price of the Red Sox pitched a gem of a game in the second outing, canceling out an equally impressive performance from Rays 25 year old lefty Blake Snell who gave up only three hits in his 5 and 2/3 innings.

After the home series against the boys from Fenway, the Rays traveled to the Big Apple to take on the Yankees. While only two out of the three scheduled games got to be played (with one being postponed due to heavy rainfall) they were uninspired affairs for the Rays players. On April 4th, unfortunately, the Yankees hitters figured out Blake Snell and bounced him from the game by the fourth inning. The ensuing result was a plethora of Rays relievers trying to get the Rays back in the ballgame, but once again the hitters were slow to get going. Yet Denard Span did in fact add another RBI — bringing his season total to a respectable total of six.

Dropping five games in a row this early in the season, of course, can’t bring too much optimism into the hearts of Rays fans and with six more road games before coming home to Tampa things may end up actually getting worse before they get better. It goes without saying that the Rays will need to start hitting the ball better if they want to reverse their disappointing results to begin this season.

DeSean Jackson’s Position With Buccaneers In Jeopardy

Most believed a year ago that the deep threat ability of Desean Jackson was the piece to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense that had the team had been sorely missing. A year later, many observers of the team feel that the speedy wider receiver is just an extra piece.

The Buccaneers gave both star receiver Mike Evans and number two receiver Cameron Brate lengthy contract extensions and it is presumed that Chris Goodwin and O.J. Howard, both impressive in their rookie seasons, will see more time on the field in the upcoming season.

Many believe the writing is on the wall for Jackson and that he will not be a member of the Buccaneers organization for much longer.

Jackson is in the second year of a three-year contract worth $33.5 million with the team that is set to pay him $11 million this season with $7.5 million of this season’s salary being guaranteed. Jackson’s salary for next season is $10 million with none of the money guaranteed.

The Buccaneers have a lot to consider in regards to Jackson’s contract as the team presently has $35.2 million of salary cap space allocated to the wide receiver position. The Dallas Cowboys are the only team whose spending on the wide receivers position comes close at $33.9 million and the league average for the position is a much lower $20.9 million.

The Bucs have $10 million of free salary cap space at the moment which will be enough to cover the contracts of this year’s draft picks but then leave the team pretty much out of money.

The salary cap will increase by $10 million dollars next year but this space is expected to go quickly as many key players have contracts that increase in value next season. To put this matter in perspective, the contract of quarterback Jameis Winston will increase from $8 million in 2018 to $20 million in 2019 if the team decides to pick up the option year of his contract.

Once all factors are considered there is little incentive to keep Jackson around as his production for the 2017 season showed a dramatic drop from 2016.

Tampa Bay Rays continue opening slide

The Tampa Bay Rays came into the 2018 season with high hopes. A 1-5 start to the year has largely dashed those hopes, for now. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, the Rays dropped yet another game to the New York Yankees despite a valiant effort by starting pitcher Blake Snell who managed to go just four innings before he had to be lifted.

Snell was the latest to fall victim to the newest version of the Murderer’s row offense the Yankees have managed to put together. The starting pitcher’s 3.1 innings included four hits allowed, three walks, five earned runs, and two home runs surrendered. That outing got the Rays well on their way to their 7-1 loss. Once Snell departed, Matt Andriese came into the game and poured lighter fluid on the fire, allowing three hits, two earned runs, and another homer in 2.2 innings.

The Yankees that homered were the usual Yankees that you might expect to homer. There was Giancarlo Stanton already getting his third of the year. There was Aaron Judge getting his first of the year and Gary Sanchez also nabbing his first homer of the new season. Those two bats joining the hit parade likely have teams like Tampa more than a little nervous. The Rays are supposed to have a fairly decent offense, even if they don’t have long time third baseman Evan Longoria on the roster anymore.

That offense didn’t do much against Yanks starting pitcher Luis Severino, who is already 2-0 this season and has posted a 1.38 earned run average in his first two starts.

On Thursday afternoon, the Rays will change opponents from the New York Yankees to the Boston Redsox. It doesn’t appear on its face that is an improvement in their chances to win a game. Tampa will be squaring off against David Price, who managed to throw seven shutout innings in his first start of the 2018 season. One has to wonder if things are going to get better, or whether they’re going to get a lot worse as we head further into April. What is clear is that the Rays had been hoping to get out of the gate looking quite a bit better than they currently appear.

Tampa Bay Lightning Continue Dream Season in Comeback Win

For just the second time in franchise history the Tampa Bay Lightning have reached 50 wins. The latest win, which took place against the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, was one for the record books. The Lightning rallied from down 3-0 to win in regulation, scoring the games final four goals and winning 4-3. The team went into the third period down 3-1 and scored 3 goals in the final period to secure the epic come from behind victory.

The scoring for Tampa Bay was diversified with Alex Killhorn, Nikita Kucherov, Ryan McDonagh, and Victor Hedman all scoring goals. Forward Yanni Gourde contributed 2 assists in the win for the leaders of the Atlantic Division. James van Riemsdyk had two goals for the Leafs in the loss.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy continued his dream season and secured his 41st win of the season, a franchise record. He made 27 saves on the night and did not surrender a goal in the final 25 minutes of play. Tampa Bay Forward Ryan Callahan did not play the final two periods as he exited the game while grabbing at his right shoulder. He will undergo testing on Wednesday to determine the seriousness of the injury. This season has been relatively injury-free for the club which has undoubtedly lead to some of their success.

The Lightning have only reached 50 wins once in their history which has spanned 26 years. They last reached the milestone in the 2014-15 season when they won 50 games and reached the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks 4 games to 2. The club is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

It has been a dream season for the Lightning as they have tied their season wins record while still having 9 games to go in the regular season. Their record stands at 50-19-4 which is the best record in the league. They currently hold a 5 point lead in the Atlantic division to the second place Boston Bruins.

The Lightning next take the ice on the road at the New York Islanders on Thursday night. The Islanders are coming off a huge 4-1 win versus the Pittsburgh Penguins as they struggle to reach .500 with their playoff hopes already dashed.

Tampa Bay Welcomes a New Sport’s Team

Although it has its origins in the year 1968 by a couple of students from Columbia High School, Ultimate Frisbee seems to only recently become popular–at least in sport’s news. However, with its rise in popularity, more teams have been developed, allowing the sport to be played on the National level. Tampa Bay is among the latest to receive their very own Ultimate Frisbee team. Called the Tampa Bay Cannons, the team plays in the American Ultimate Disc League.

It began in 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida, but in a desire to increase their audience, they decided to move to Tampa Bay. The Cannons play in the South Division of the American Ultimate Disc League and have their first game against the Raleigh Flyers on March 31st. They also open at home against the same team on April 7th.

Ultimate Frisbee is easy to understand in its most basic concept. The goal is to pass the frisbee, or disc, to a teammate located in the end zone. Those who are passing the disc cannot move whilst they are holding it. Interceptions, incomplete passes, and passes that end up out of bounds are automatically turned over to the other team. Within reason, the game is sometimes played during inclement weather, giving another edge of a challenge to players when they have to deal with variables such as rain or high winds.

Unlike other sports, and promoting itself as a counterculture game, there is no referee to keep track of the rules. Instead, Ultimate Frisbee relies on the players and good sportsmanship to ensure that the game is being played fairly. In clubs, however, there are sometimes game advisors available in the event of a penalty dispute.

The United States has a long history of wins in this particular sport. In 2014, they won four out of five divisions. They were able to win all divisions between national teams in 2016 and nearly did the same in 2017, except for the women’s team which lost to Russia.

With the rise in interest in the game, it may not be long until the Cannons are saturated with possible new recruits. With luck and skill, the Cannons will bring pride and a plethora of wins to the Tampa Bay area.

Rays Setting up for Future

During the 2017 Major League Baseball season, one team that surprised a lot of people for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Rays compete in the very competitive American League East Division where they have to play against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. One of the biggest challenges that this team has is competing with the Yankees and Red Sox in terms of payroll. While the Yankees and Red Sox tend to have two of the largest payrolls in Major League Baseball, the Rays typically are among the lowest. While the team does not necessarily have the budget to compete for top free agents, they do still do very well on the field.

Last season, the Tampa Bay baseball team did much better than most people would have thought. While most believe that last year would have been a rebuilding year for the team, they ended up finishing nearly 500 by winning 80 games and losing 82. While last season was a good year for the team, some are skeptical that he Rays could repeat their success this year (https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/tampa-bay-rays-2018-season-team-preview-mostly-cloudy-forecast/).

One of the main reasons why people are concerned about the team in the coming year is that they did lose a lot of their top players. While the trades may have been good moves for the long term, the team will be without Corey Dickerson, Evan Longoria, and Jake Odorizzi. Each of these players were traded for young talent that likely will be in the minors for a few more years.

While the Tampa Bay baseball team has lost a lot of their top talent, there is still plenty of reason for optimism in the future. After making these trades, the team has one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. While many of the top talented players are still several years away from reaching the big leagues, the team will likely once again bring up some fresh arms in young assets later this year.

Overall, most experts believe that the Rays will fall a bit in the standings. Not only are they a bit worse, but the other teams in their division seem to have taken a step forward. This could make it a tough year, but the Rays will certainly win their fair share of games.

Bucs Make Big Moves in Free Agency

During the 2016 NFL season one of the most surprising teams movie where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers ended up winning nine games and losing just seven while finishing just outside of playoff contention. The team looks very good during the year you largely to the play of their young quarterback Jameis Winston and other star players. While 2016 made the team look very promising; the following season was not as strong.

In 2017, the team did not do as well as they did the prior year. During the season, the team struggled to find the cohesion that they had in the prior year. In 2017, the Buccaneers ended up winning just 5 games while losing 11. This had them finished in fourth place and far behind the third place team in their division. While the Buccaneers looked like they took a big step back last year, there is still plenty of reason for hope for the future. Thus far through the first few weeks of the offseason, the team has made many moves that could situate them well for the future (https://thepewterplank.com/2018/03/18/tampa-bay-buccaneers-arent-done-free-agency/).

Through the first week of free agency, the Buccaneers have been as active as any other team in the league. The team ended the year and clearly needed to find ways to improve their defense. After the first few weeks, the clearly have made a few additions that should make them better in the future. The team recently signed defensive lineman Beau Allen and the athletic Vinny Curry. The additions of these players should make their defense much better and allow them to shut down the opposing defenses.

While the team did a good job signing new free agents, they are also looking for ways to lock in star players for the future. Over the past few weeks, the team has signed star wide receiver, Mike Evans, and starting center Ryan Jensesn to long-term contracts. Both of these players should be around for the foreseeable future while the team looks to continue to grow.

While free agency has been big for the team, the Bucs are also looking forward to the draft at the end of April. This draft will help the team build the depth and bring in a lot of talent that they need to succeed.

Bucs make Jensen Highest Paid Center in NFL!

With a swipe of his pen on the contract, offensive linemen Ryan Jensen made history on March 16th signing a $48 million dollar contract that earned him the distinction of becoming the highest-paid center in all of the league. While the $22 million guaranteed money is quite a lot, the Bucs front office clearly believes that Jensen is worth locking down for some time. It’s difficult not to like the move: the chance to add a reliable offensive linemen who has shown durability and is still only 26 years old only comes around so often, and these opportunities need to be seized if the Bucs want to improve.

Jensen is a bit of an underdog story, to say the least. He was a largely unheralded prospect after his college career at Division II Colorado State University-Pueblo, and wasn’t picked until the 6th round by the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, he was even cut from the Ravens main team and given a shot with the practice squad, but with relentless hard work he worked his way back onto the active roster. Once given the opportunity to start Jensen began proving the doubters wrong and started all 16 games for Baltimore last season.

Many reporters are wondering if this changes the Tampa Bay front office’s gameplan for the upcoming NFL Draft. Offensive line is a position of need for the Bucs, to say the very least, but now that they’ve shored up the Center position there is speculation the Bucs may try and fortify another position where they need help, by drafting cornerback Joshua Jackson out of the University of Iowa. On the other hand, there are a number of intriguing offensive line prospects (such as Orlando Brown out of the University of Oklahoma) expected to be available when Tampa Bay picks at #7. Many NFL front office’s have long subscribed to the belief you can never have too many good players in the trenches, and Tampa Bay may choose that path.

One thing is for certain, Tampa Bay has added a Center in Ryan Jensen that is a proven workhorse. While the amount of money in the contract may be high, nobody can argue that it is unearned — Jensen has made the most of every opportunity in the NFL, and he’ll bring that attitude to Tampa Bay each and every day.

Denard Span Putting Together Solid Spring Training

As we get closer and closer to baseball’s Opening Day, 34 year old Center Fielder Denard Span seems to have found the fountain of youth as he has put together an impressive Spring Training campaign so far. A key returning piece in the trade that sent Evan Longoria to the San Fransisco Giants, Span is going to be the elder statesman in the clubhouse in what, by all indications, seems like a rebuilding year for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Through the early portion of Spring Training so far Span has put together an impressive slash line batting with .368 average including 4 extra base hits in just 36 plate appearances. In addition to those numbers he has knocked in 10 runs and even stolen a couple of bases, showing that the 34 year old still contains the speed and quickness required to patrol the outfield in the majors. He had a particularly good outing against the Tigers on March 18th, garnering 3 hits in 4 at bats and knocking in a decisive 10-5 victory over the rebuilding Detroit squad. While Span has never made an All-Star Game in his career thus far, he has routinely been a solid plug-n-play outfielder for a number of major league teams. In short: he’s the type of piece the Rays will need to keep around if they want to remain competitive and exciting to watch even during the extensive rebuild operation.

While it is never a great idea to place too much stock in spring training results it has to give the Ray’s front office some solace to see a veteran player such as Denard Span showing up and putting in solid work in all facets of the game. Denard has been in the majors since 2008 when he came up with the Minnesota Twins organization, surely in what has been a tumultuous offseason for the Rays it has to feel good to see one of the few remaining older players leading the youngsters by example. Whether or not Span will remain a Ray past the trading deadline, of course, remains to be seen but if he’s putting up equivalents to the solid numbers we’ve seen so far in Spring Training then he will be intriguing trade bait to a team looking to make a serious playoff push. Hopefully Span can find a home in Tampa Bay continuing to play at the level he’s shown this Spring Training, but with the Rays front office you truly never can tell.

Tampa Comes From Behind in Big Win

The 2017-18 NHL season has been a very competitive one. There have been several different teams in the league that have shown that they are quite dominant and could do very well when the playoffs start. One team that has continued to be extremely competitive in the NHL is the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first 70 games of the season, the Lightning have won 50 games and have the best record in the Eastern Conference. They also look like a favorite to lock up home ice advantage through the playoffs.

This past week, the team continued to impress people with a very impressive come-from-behind victory that they had. On Wednesday, after falling behind the Toronto Maple Leafs by score of 3-0, Tampa Bay made a courageous come back and ended up winning the game by a score of four goals to three (http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/bruins/2018/03/nhl_roundup_lightning_erase_3_goal_deficit_rally_past_maple_leafs_4_3).

During the game, the Lightning struggled at first to gain the cohesion that they had all year long. While they fell behind early, the team did not give up. Towards the end of the second period, Victor Hedman scored his 13th goal of the year to bring the game closer. While they were still down by 2 goals heading into the third period, the team looked very dominant despite the disadvantage. Within the first four minutes of the period, the team was able to tie the game after Ryan McDonagh and Nikita Kucherov were able to score goals. Then, with about 9 minutes to go in the game, Alex Killorn was able to score the game winning goals.

While the Lightning were able to hold on to the advantage, the end of the game was very exciting. In fact, the Maple Leafs were able to get a power play advantage late in the game, but the defense and goal keeping of Tampa Bay was able to keep Toronto out of the goal.

This ended up being a very big win for Tampa Bay. Not only did they build on their first place lead, but they were able to look tough against a formidable opponent. At this point, Toronto looks as if they will easily make the playoffs and could be seeing Tampa Bay again in the near future if the two get matched up.